derfelt1I’ve heard the pesky little quote Shakespeare made about lawyers however I prefer the viewpoint of Tocqueville.  Buried in the middle of a paragraph, he states lawyers “serve as arbiters between the citizens.”  With this in mind, MSSU has been trying to develop a program that would serve our practitioners, the citizens and our government.

Based upon these efforts, our university has established the James R. Spradling Center for Law & Politics under the Dean of Arts & Sciences.  The Spradling Center, as we affectionately call it, has hit the ground running with some campus events you may have noticed such as Constitution Day events and voter registration.  Although the Spradling Center will officially open in January 2014 in Room 212 of Webster Hall, you can often find us working in our space in Room 213.

The mission of the center is to connect students, practitioners & the community by using the vast resources of our faculty, students and facilities.  We are looking forward to providing workshops, continuing legal education opportunities and campus presentations.

The Spradling Center will provide many opportunities for the academic study of law and politics on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.  We have already invited local attorneys to attend a continuing legal education course on October 31 and working to schedule a legislator meeting this fall.  This year the Center will help run the Mock Trial Program, the Legislative Intern Program and Law Day Activities.  We are also developing citizen luncheons and forum opportunities for campaigning candidates.

When deciding on a name for the center last spring, it was important that the Center reflect the divided yet similar goals of Law AND Politics.  Thus, the Center for Law and Politics is dedicated to a man known in our area for both- James R. Spradling, a longtime Carthage Attorney and former Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.  Appointed by then Missouri Gov. Christopher “Kit” Bond, he served from 1973-1976 in the position. He also served as Carthage Municipal Judge and in civic posts including president of the Carthage YMCA and Carthage Park Board.  He also taught on an adjunct professor basis at Missouri Southern State University; teaching for the university up until the fall semester of 2009.  He passed away in 2010.

If you have any ideas, questions or suggestions for how the Center can positively affect the areas of law or politics in the Four State Area, please email us at or give us a call at 417-625-3081.